When I got home one Summer there was a minister living in my bedroom. Recently ordained, he stuttered and he smoked. The rest of the female congregation at mother’s church were envious. He was the child of their dreams.
Staring through the sitting room window at the texture of rain, I ignored my mother’s monologue on her new charge. Beyond the blur of raindrops my father emptied my bag from the car. He carried it the fifty yards between the back door and the caravan, past the Minister’s ash pot, the woodpile and the compost, and deposited it just inside the caravan door.
I was exiled.
Throwing myself across its brown, man-made covered foam I wondered why I’d come home.
The rest of the holidays I ventured out only at mealtimes, padding up the path in my socks. Otherwise I read, or watched the minister smoke through the greasy window of the caravan. Occasionally I would have a cigarette myself. It momentarily muted the biscuit stench of last year’s holiday, and of myself. I was not in any mood to wash. Demoted into temporary accommodation it felt like the most appropriate protest.
Not that anyone noticed. Lost to the brown and beige, the beach stains, the five year old crumbs and the portaloo, home was no longer somewhere I could go.